Paris - Ile De France Section
Pont au Double – Paris bridge - Facts
Pont au Double and Hôtel-Dieu
The Hôtel Dieu was founded in 651AD and was the oldest hospital of Paris.
It consisted of two buildings that stood on the south side of the cathedral's parvis.
This hospital was pulled down during Haussmann’s planning work of the mid 19th century and was rebuilt to the north of the square.
Throughout the Middle Ages sick people and indigents were brought to the hospital via the Petit Pont.
The bridge was therefore very crowded because it was the only bridge connecting the Ile de la Cité to the left bank.
A new bridge was therefore needed!
A bridge with a toll!
A three-arch stone bridge was eventually built in 1643.
It landed by the Hôtel-Dieu and was therefore essentially reserved to transport the sick to the hospital.
Local residents eventually obtained permission to use the bridge in order to avoid the congestion on the Petit Pont.
However, in return for this favour, they had to pay a toll set as:
"un double denier pour chacun des hommes de pied et six deniers pour chaque homme de cheval"
(a double coin for each man on foot and six for each man on horse)
The toll remained in place until the French Revolution.
It obviously left its name to the bridge.
The Pont au Double collapsed in 1709 but was rebuilt to the identical.
This bridge was demolished and replaced in 1848 with a single-arch masonry bridge in order to facilitate navigation on the small arm of the Seine.
The Pont au Double was demolished once more in 1883 and replaced with the current bridge!
The single-arch metal structure is 45m long by 20m wide.
However, is not open to vehicular traffic, but only to pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles.
It also boasts prime view over the cathedral!
Metro: Cité or Saint-Michel on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.852598 - Long 2.348449